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A Biography of the English Language Hardcover – January 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0495906414 ISBN-10: 0495906417 Edition: 3rd

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A Biography of the English Language + Workbook for Millward/Hayes' A Biography of the English Language + Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 3 edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0495906417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0495906414
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book is very well written with a very appealing "voice" and is very clear in its explanations. It focuses appropriately on the most significant changes in the history of English."

"The text introduces concepts basic to the study of the development of any language, and then uses the concepts as a lens to specifically view the developmental periods of English."

About the Author

PHD in linguistics and English from Brown University; taught at U of Edinburgh, Univerisite Paul Valery in Monpelllier, France, and at Huazhon U of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China; recipient of many awards including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a Humanities Foundation grant. She was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and was a member of many professional organizations.

Ph.D. from Univ of Iowa; now Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Mississippi.

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Customer Reviews

This is easily one of my top ten favorite books.
Brooke W
This book was the textbook for her own class on the history of the English language.
Upright Citizen
If you are going over this review and cannot read, I urge you to buy this book.
Johnny Dangerface

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Maura Keaney (mkeaney@pen.k12.va.us) on July 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in historical linguistics, Millward's textbook is the first you should read. Her dry sense of humor livens even the most dense chapters on inner history and spelling reform. The book is intended to serve as a text for a graduate course on the history of English, and it is useful for both experienced linguists as well as those who have no prior coursework in linguistics. The text begins with chapters on language, phonology, and writing to provide the novice with background on linguistics, phonology, and phonemic transcription. The chapters that follow on Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Present Day English have dense, but easy to read, overviews of both inner and outer history of the language. Millward intersperses humorous vignettes with her main text and heightens the reader's appreciation for the language
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was one of the first books to turn me onto the field of Linguistics. --BUT-- you don't need to be a linguist to enjoy this book. All you need is a curiosity in the history of the English language. Suddenly, all the crazy "rules" of grammar, and the seemingly senseless spelling of many words start to make sense. It is fascinating to see how the language has evolved, and you learn to appreciate the nature of language.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Upright Citizen on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate to have Celia Millward as a professor at Boston University. This book was the textbook for her own class on the history of the English language. The book offers an excellent history of the English language that I think any English speaker would find simply fascinating. We use this language every day, so it is interesting to know where it came from! It is also very readable and enjoyable--Mrs. Millward's wit and humor comes across as strongly as her knowledge as an authority on the subject. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce R. Gilson on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are books on the phonology and such of the English language. There are books on the history of the English language. There are books on the English language today, discussing how it varies from place to place. This book has the distinction of covering all, and covering them all very well. The historical linguistics part is particularly good, whth complete and detailed chapters on the stages from Old English to the present day, but going back to Indo-European. But the first chapter of the book, on present-day English phonology, is also very good. And so is the last one, on "English around the world."

The only point that could be criticized is the price -- extremely high. I got my copy as a used book on Amazon Marketplace. But I doubt that many would really want to pay over $100 for a book, no matter how good.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LGD on December 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I used this text in a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga "History of the English Language" course for English majors. Millward does a wonderful job of explaining the information and her examples are recognizable and helpful. you will find yourself reading part out loud as you try and discover your own language usage. In fact, I think I would have enjoyed this book even reading it on my own. Language History is not explored enough, and this is a great text with which to begin
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brooke W on March 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is easily one of my top ten favorite books. It has everything you ever wanted to know about the history of the English language, and it does a really good job laying out its information. If I ever have a question about English, this is where I go for the answer. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the English language.
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